The objective of the Animal Welfare Act is to protect animals from pain, suffering and distress. The Act also aims to improve animal welfare and the treatment of animals.
Animal welfare authorities
The authorities responsible for controlling animal welfare include municipal veterinarians, municipal health protection control officers, and the police. Various volunteer-run animal welfare organisations also participate in animal welfare control, although they do not have the official authority to conduct inspections.
Aluehallintoviraston läänineläinlääkäri ohjaa ja valvoo eläinsuojelusäädösten noudattamista viraston alueella sekä suorittaa otantaperusteisia EU-tarkastuksia maatiloille (p. 029 501 8450).
Animal welfare inspections are mainly conducted without prior notice in cases of suspected animal welfare violations. The information of the person reporting suspected animal abuse will not be given to the suspect.
According to law, animal welfare inspections are conducted regularly to places where animals are kept professionally (i.e. kennels, horse-riding schools, animal care centres), even when there is no reason to suspect animal abuse.
Dairy farms are subject to regular hygiene inspections, during which the welfare of animals is also inspected. Animal transportation, animal shows and competitions, and circuses are also subject to animal welfare control.
Barking dogs or other environmental disturbances are mainly not counted as cases of animal welfare, and are not subject to the Animal Welfare Act. It is encouraged to attempt to resolve these issue with the person causing the disturbance (and possibly with your housing corporation). You can also alert the police if public order laws are being broken.
More information on animal welfare control can be found on the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry website.